Thursday, December 13, 2018

'Tis The Season To Be Jolly

Yeah! 'Tis the season to be jolly! So, politics apart, I am pushing forward with a 'tra-la-la' attitude, sparkling my way to Christmas Day. This year we have a little gold tree. It is the last month of our Golden year so in the absence of gold bars, the tree will have to suffice. The lights went on last night and instantly brightened up the house.

 This year's Christmas card is dedicated to all those unfortunate people who are homeless and having to sleep rough on the street. My poem (below) likewise.
The Hug

It all began at Christmas when I saw you in the street,
your face was full of whiskers, and your red-veined ruddy cheeks
were glowing in the lamplight, and when snowflakes hit your nose,
there was promise of a whiteout, and you’d nowhere else to go.

The belt around your trousers was a piece of plaited string,
and the jacket you were wearing had worn to paper thin,
your grimy fingers fumbled with the buttons at your neck,
it made you wheeze like smokers do, harsh, giving the effect

of a pair of struggling bellows hard cranking up some puff,
meanwhile your eyes glazed over, and the shirt was not enough,
it would not stop the cold from striking through; it would not stop
pneumonia or flu. And you and I, both knew you could

not stop the snow from coming down. I looked at you and smiled,
but you were not the Christmas I remembered as a child.
The snowflakes kept on coming, and they whitened your red hat,
they landed like a blanket, an Icelandic habitat,

I saw your breath mix with the air, thick fog about to freeze,
the thought occurred you'd die right there, and not make Christmas Eve.
And so I sat beside you, and the snow began to melt,
I wrapped my coat around you, and I shared the way you felt,

I gave you cake, and brandy, and I got you to your feet,
you told me you were homeless, and rough-sleeping on the street,
you hugged me, and I held you close, a mother and newborn,
together, Christmas loving saw you safely through the storm.
         
                                                          
On Tuesday I went to my first Christmas party, it was the Music and Memories Group at the library in Barnsley, and I played the piano (keyboard) for a bit of carol singing. That went well, there was a lovely buffet, dancing, and I even got to meet the Mayor who was wearing the snazziest boots I've ever seen. Well, it was a lovely start to part-time. 

The next party is on Sunday, when it will be our son's birthday - more cake! And after that it will be cake all the way to Christmas, cake and bubbly that is, I will definitely be rocking around the Christmas tree. 

I hope you will all be doing the same, have a very happy Christmas and an even happier New Year.

Love and hugs,
Jane x

Thursday, November 29, 2018

There Was An Old Poet Who Went to Posh Pinge

Well, what a busy week I had last week. We hired a car to travel south to Penge, and stayed with our lovely daughter Jo, and grandson, Jack. David did a bit of decorating while I met Christine for lunch and to put the final touches to our performance. I had time for a good look around Bromley, and a bit of a pre-Christmas shop, and we met up with a group of friends at the Moon and Stars in Penge, for a Friday night get together. Then it was Saturday, and on with various hats for our Poetry and Prosecco afternoon reading. Well, of course we had lots of laughs, and it wasn't just because of the bubbly. Mission accomplished, I only had one more duty to perform, and that was to play the organ for church service at Clock House, after which, we set off back to Yorkshire. The car had been such a joy, and an added bonus was that we managed to call and see our lovely friends for a Yorkshire dinner on Monday night. Not only that but we were able to bring back a dressing table that Jo was throwing out. What a successful trip.

So, here are a few photo's to give you a flavour of our Saturday entertainment act. To all who attended, a big thank you for being such an appreciative audience. And to all who couldn't make it, Christine and I will be putting new work together for the Spring.

Carol Singing (with a twist)!!!!!!!

It was on a day like this that I flipped a penny piece...

There was an old poet who went to Posh Pinge, the way she was dressed made everyone cringe...
Definitely unhinged!!!!!!



My lovely talented friend, Christine Pope. We make a good team.

And now it is back to the drawing board, in between getting ready for Christmas, and one or two dates in my diary such as 'flu jab,' 'reunion lunch with old school friends,' a trip to play carols for the Alzheimer's' Group in Barnsley, a little Christmas party where I do a bit of voluntary work, and our son's birthday. It's going to be a fun December.

I hope you are having as much fun as me, dear reader. Watch this space for more crazy days. Keep warm and healthy.

Lots of love and a big hug,
Jane x





Sunday, November 18, 2018

There Is An Old Poet Who's Going To Posh Pinge

Right! Let's get this show on the road. I'm so looking forward to our little do next Saturday in Penge. We all need the pick-me-up of a little laughter in these days of political unrest, so I hope you can spare an hour to recharge your fun batteries.

And if for any reason you can not come to see us on Saturday, please consider this: Christine and I are up for a repeat performance at another venue, so do get in touch if you think we are just what you are looking for to provide a couple of hours of entertainment, (I will post a video sample of our act). Just mail me at janesharp_creta@hotmail.com for information.





Now, what have I been up to in the past week? Well, never one to sit still for long, I attended a workshop with the famous Toria Garbutt, in Barnsley, and later joined her and a group of Barnsley poets in an open mic session. It was an inspirational afternoon, enjoyed by all, as you can see. By the way, the man lurking in the background is setting up for the musicians who followed on after the poetry, it was just an informal do, not the Albert Hall, but that's where Toria is this coming week.







So, next up is Penge. I've had my hair done, I've got my winter woolies ready for the cold weather that's forecast, and I've got my new boots. 

David and I went out for Sunday Lunch today, at the Cock Inn in Birdwell, it was absolutely scrumptious.  Then we had a lazy afternoon, and we are now going to settle down and watch Countryfile on the TV.  Our evening viewing is sorted, Doctor Who and The Little Drummer Girl, then it's an early night. My book at bedtime is The Muse by Jessie Burton, I've just started it and it beckons me on. I'll let you know what I think when I've finished it. And tomorrow I'm off to Meadowhall for a mooch around. 

Whatever you are up to, I hope you are happy and have good things to look forward to. Keep smiling, and don't let Brexit get you down. "Brexit, Brexit, will we stay or exit/When will Theresa May say up your bum to Juncker?" Well, that's what I think!

Love and Hugs,
Jane x

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Barnsley's Spoken Voices

What a wonderful evening was had by all at The Old School House, Barnsley, on 28th October to launch the Barnsley's Spoken Voices CD. Organised by Jethro Platts this event was very well attended and there is already a date for our next airing - 10th March 2019, at The Old School House. Meanwhile the CD is selling well, and at only £5 it is just the right price to give as a Christmas present. So, poetry buffs out there, contact Jeff Jethro Platts to purchase your copy.

The poem I recorded for the CD was A Dress That Never Fits Always Hangs in the Wardrobe. It is a poem which was published in The Dreamcatcher mag. last year. For the performance we (13 poets) were given 7 minutes, so I read my CD poem and a couple of others.

And get a load of these, my new performance boots, all ready for the Posh Penge reading on the 24th November. It's a Saturday afternoon event that I am doing with my friend Christine Pope, winner of the Penge Poetry Competition. 
Notice the purple theme going on - When I'm An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple - Jenny Joseph

So, what else is going on in this poet's life at the moment. MY BOILER'S ON THE BLINK and it's not funny when the hot water turns to cold water mid shower. I have found, however, that icy cold water does seem to leave my hair in better condition. There's always a plus side, eh?

It's definitely cosy up time in Birdwell, and the Art House in the garden, is not the place to be at the moment. Still I'm busy with words and music. I am going to play some Christmas Carols for the Alzheimer Group which meets in Barnsley Library, so that should be jolly.

David and I went to see the 'Queen' (check out this link it's the real thing) film, Bohemian Rhapsody, last Friday - it's fantastic!


I dare say, dear reader, you will be very busy over the next few weeks, getting ready for Christmas. Enjoy all the run up to the festivities, I know I will be getting into the spirit of things, there may be a few homemade presents flying around, I feel a bit of Blue Peter creativity coming on.

So, till next time, dear reader, keep warm, and keep safe,
Love and hugs,
Jane x

Friday, October 26, 2018

Back to The Future! Launch of Voices of Barnsley CD

Hello everybody! Well, it's been a while, but I am surfacing at last. You could say I took a short sabbatical. But I'm here now, and hope all my readers have not forgotten me.

So, onwards and upwards. I am going straight into future events, because there are exciting times ahead. First of all this weekend sees the launch of the Voices of Barnsley CD. Here is the poster. I have a 7 minute slot, which I am really looking forward to.


























I doubt many of you will be able to get to this event so watch out for photos next week.

I have not submitted anything for publication for months but have been writing, and not only that, I have been painting. This is my most recent effort. I am learning all the time.


My lovely Daddy. It's not perfect, but it does look like him.

Next week I will be busy putting a programme together for an afternoon of fun on the 24th November, in Penge. Poet, Christine Pope and I are going to entertain again, and hopefully making people laugh at our Prosecco and Poetry afternoon at Holy Trinity Church.


A BREEZE ABOVE OUR HEaDS

Christine Pope has lived in the South East for most of her life and has been writing poetry for about the last 15 years. She is a member of the Shortlands Poetry Circle and a speaker/entertainer for the WI and other organisations. In 2017 she was winner of the Walter de la Mare Poetry Prize.
Contact: 020 8464 9810 or christinepope@talktalk.net
Jane Sharp was born in Yorkshire and now shares her time between Yorkshire and Penge. She has won awards both in England and Crete, where she lived for 18 years. Her work has been broadcast on BBC radio and is included in a Yorkshire Anthology. As a member of the Poetry Society’s South East Stanza, she has performed at Covent Garden and other local venues.
PoETRY TO
TICKLE YOUR
FUNNY BOne
on
Saturday 24 November
2.00–3.30 pm
at
Holy Trinity Church 66 Leonard Avenue, Penge SE20 7LX
Tickets £10 (including wine and light refreshments)
From Christine Pope 020 8464 9810 

So you see, I am thrusting forward into the future. It has been a strange year, but I have survived, and consider myself very lucky and very grateful for all I have, that includes, health and friendship. 

Here are a few pictures of the summer months just to show you that I didn't spend the whole time in bed.
The Fountain, Long Preston

Morris Men in Newark on Trent

Celebration Dinner







































Family Celebration and Cake

A Glorious day for our Golden Wedding Celebration

The National Mining Museum, Wakefield

Afternoon Tea in London

The Best Scones I've Ever Tasted

Playing the Organ for Church Service

A Weekend in Buxton

Down the Blue John Cave











































I am so looking forward to more adventures. Bring it on!
Again, sorry for the absence, but everyone needs a break now and then. I'm off to learn my lines now, for Sunday's reading. Talk to you all soon. Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Love and hugs, Jane xx

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Lovely Leafy London

May Bank Holiday saw two happy travellers hand in hand through the streets of London, well Greenwich to be precise. And what a glorious weekend it was. Armed with a bottle of water, and suncream, we headed for Hampstead Heath by bus from Beckenham. Of course we sat on the front seat at the top of the double decker so as to get a real tourist eye view, tree top level. And after a quick jacket potato at a very agreeable pavement cafe we strolled over the heath towards the entrance to Greenwich Park. Our mission was to locate the memorial bench of John Fisher, who was my sister's brother in law. He was an artist/designer who worked and lived in Hampstead.

 As you see, we found the bench and stayed a while in quiet contemplation.

The commemorative bench is situated in a lovely position overlooking a small pond, and surrounded by mature trees. It was easy to locate just before the entrance to the park.






The view of the Thames and the City of London from the top of Greenwich Park was spectacular, and the park was crowded with tourists enjoying the sunshine and the historical surroundings. But we did not linger as our second mission was to visit the multiple markets of Greenwich. This we did, and we were not disappointed. There were crafts, antiques, vintage, and a wonderful variety of vegetarian food, home made cakes, and other local produce. I could have shopped till I dropped, but I didn't. Instead, like true Yorkshire people, we kept our purses firmly closed. I almost treated myself to a £3.00 ride on the Carousel, but thought better of it. We did splash out on a glass of cider and a red wine in the Gypsy Moth pub just by way of strolling down memory lane, as that is where we celebrated after Joanne (our daughter) graduated from Greenwich University. It hadn't changed; still as busy, still as expensive - but that's London.

The Cutty Sark, still as resplendent as ever, towered above us as we looked on the riverboats that were coming and going up and down the Thames.
















And the fun didn't stop there! Jo and I had a trip to the Tate Modern to see the Picasso Exhibition. It was fantastic, very inspirational, very mind blowing, and we both came away ready to create our own masterpieces.

 Hm! Make of it what you will, but I think I know what was on her mind.
 I got that loving feeling! There seemed to be a lot of armchairs and reclining nudes but every one shouted passion.
And we took in some other artists, Mark Rothsco, Marina Abromovich, among the thought provoking 'modern art.' It seems anything goes. I like her quote, I kind of know what she means.















And so to prove that anything goes, prepare to be amazed (or frightened to death). Yes it's Shed Woman.



And if you are still on your feet, thank you for scrolling down my blog to this point. I'm off now to do some more scary art. I have done my wife-y bit for the day, a scrumptious looking mushroom pie, which of course I can't eat, but I have a man who will.

It doesn't look too pretty but I bet it tastes good. Meanwhile I have roasted a load of vegetables pour moi.

June is not bursting out all over in Birdwell today, but it's very pleasant, and I've got the Bee Gees serenading me.

I hope you had an action packed Bank Holiday weekend and are able to relax, like me, this weekend. Home is a wonderful place to be.

Love and hugs till next time,
Jane x

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Reunion

I had a little train trip off yesterday to meet up with three school friends, two of whom I had not seen in over 40 years. Would I recognise them? Would they recognise me? The meeting was warm, and sociable, and though all that time had passed, and our lives had gone in so many different directions, we fell back into our school days' friendship as though there had never been an interruption. It was a very special day, and I came home feeling emotionally charged, knowing something I was part of all those years ago, was still inside me.

The whole experience of our reunion, made me focus on my early childhood, and how I, it now seems, was brought up by a community, not just a family. That community was the population of Long Preston, in the Yorkshire Dales, where I was born. Now older, and with time to reflect, I realise that I owe that community so much. The people who supported the church and its annual parties with egg sandwiches, jelly, and blancmange, and buns and biscuits. The people who organised bus trips. The people who ran a beetle drive every week in the winter at the old scout hut. The people who ran the village sports day. The people who made coffee and cake, and held bazaars, and sales of work. And especially those organisers of the Boxing Night Dance, held at the Mechanics Institute, where I first met my lovely David. Then there was the library, and such things as the parade on Remembrance Sunday, and summer cricket on the green. And nobody complained when we kids went out on Mischief Night, knocking on doors, and tying up gates. And everybody put coppers in our tin when we did the rounds, carol singing before Christmas. 

Yes, I had wonderful parents, who provided for me, and nurtured me, but the total person I have become is certainly in some part a product of being brought up by the whole community of Long Preston, and, of course Hellifield, where David and I brought up our own children (with the help of that equally warm group of people).

So this is the poem that emerged from my day trip into the dales, if you were brought up in Long Preston you may feel the same way as I do.

Reunion

Put me on a train and send me back
To that frame of fields, that buttercup world,
Where days were unnumbered, and ideas unfurled
In petals of time, that mattered the most.                                 

Send me back to the cricket pitch green,
To the ginnels, the gates, the graveyard ghosts,
To the butcher’s shop with its Sunday roasts,
And cleavers, and steals, and barrels of bones;

Let me hear once more a slop of churn,
And a clop of hooves on the cobblestones;
And the clink of milk outside curtained homes,
While the cockerel crowed in the morning light:

Place me on a wall and let me see
Beyond the moor, beyond the curlew’s flight,
The winding stream, the oxbow lakes, the sight
Of white steam on the valley’s iron tracks,

Sit me inside the Sunday school room
With its scrolls and rolls and lavender wax,
And its suffer the little children plaques,
And parties, plays, and magic lantern shows.

And outside gardens with high stonewalls,
Where lupins, and roses and tall trees grow,
And everywhere chimney pots, rooks and crows,
In a leafy landscape of long ago.

Stand me beside the old stone fountain,
With eyes on the concrete and cottage rows,
Let me breathe its scent, inhale head to toe,
Every connection that gave me such joy:

Open the door of the Institute,
The bands, the bazars, and the hoi palloi;
Coffee and biscuits for all to enjoy,
And medal-clad elders to show us the way:

Let me meet again your familiar face,
In that space we shared in communal play,
Let me recover the bliss of those days,

To keep in my heart for always, always.

Jane Sharp 2018

Well, there you have it. Thank you people of Long Preston 1951-1966. And thank you, Elsie, Kathleen and Elizabeth for such a wonderful reunion. 

And what other news do I have? Well, I have embarked on a fitness programme and have been doing a three mile walk every other day, plus a few press ups (not from floor level yet), and I am feeling well off it. I have almost finished another art masterpiece, and I actually think my cooking has improved (slightly). I'm looking forward to the Royal Wedding on Saturday, I'll be glued to the TV. and I may even indulge myself in a glass of bubbly to toast the handsome couple.

Talk to you again soon, dear reader, bye for now,
Love and hugs,
Jane x

Friday, May 4, 2018

Ey Up Tis Tour de Yorkshire

Oh them Sharp's they donned their boots
To watch those cycling men
They marched themselves up Blacker Hill
And marched back down again.

And when they were up, they were up
(to their necks in lycred thighs)
And when they were down, they were down
(in the Red Lion drinking cider)
And when they were only half way up
They were neither up nor down.

And a jolly time was had by all. The cyclists streamed by, undeterred by the gradient of the hill. A helicopter hovered overhead. A dozen or so police motorbikes sped by, lights flashing, sirens screeching, and like a single body, a mass of competitors, peddling like no tomorrow, whooshed by. Several support vehicles carrying spare bicycles followed on, then it was over. Over for us that is, the lovely lycra men had miles to go to reach the finishing line in Ilkley. David and I sat in the pub and watched the rest of the race on the television before walking home. I wouldn't mind a bike, but I prefer to walk up hills, and we seem to have done quite a bit of that lately. Where will it end?






Yeah! Feeling good!

So, that was my day. I hope yours was as enjoyable. I can recommend a walk through Worsbrough woods, the bluebells are stunning and there is a plethora of wildlife. It looks like it's going to be a sunny bank holiday weekend, so make the most of it. I shall be in the garden reading a few poems. By the way, I have completed a final edit of my book, Higgs Bottom, and we are hoping to have it up on Kindle before too long.

Talk again soon,
Love and hugs,
Jane x





Monday, March 5, 2018

After The Anaesthetic

I'm alive! Goodness, that was nasty, but six weeks on I have body and soul together and I'm surging ahead into 2018.
Meet Monty Bear, my little comforter in between the pain killers and sleep.

Well, I survived the anaesthetic, and I'm not going to go into the grizzly details of my operation, or the wretchedness of the month of February. Suffice it to say, the Doctors and nurses of Barnsley hospital were wonderful, my home carer (being David) was a saint, my family were there when I needed them, and Monty Bear was a comfort to me during my regression into a childlike state, while I switched off to allow my body to heal.

So, here we are into March. The 'Beast from the East' Siberian weather of the past week has moved on leaving patches of frozen snow here and there, but the garden is green again, and the streets are clear of any trace of slush. 

Birdwell Feb2018
What a good job I didn't have to go out in that awful weather, but now I'm well on the mend it's full steam ahead with a mission to get battle fit for the long walks that we are planning. First we shall complete the Barnsley Boundary Walk, only about 3 legs of that walk left, then we shall be heading to the coast for a bit of coast walking. It's all in the spirit of having fun. And in that same spirit David and I have booked a coach trip to Whitby. 


Yes, there's nothing like a near death experience for bringing to the fore the necessity for having fun. In this our 50th year of marriage, we shall be having plenty of just that. So watch this space for details of our adventures, oh, they won't be taking us to the Seychelles, or China, or the Bahamas, but   I promise we shall still be having a load of fun. 

In my quest for better health I have perfected the art of making cake without butter or margarine, that is without fat.
This is my recipe: 100 gram dark brown sugar,
2 mashed bananas, 1 small carton Alpro yoghurt, 1 egg (beat all that together) Add 200 gram gluten free S R flour, 1 teaspoon ginger, pinch salt. (Beat all the ingredients together and pour the batter into a loaf tin). Bake for approx 35/40 mins Fan 175.

Give it a go. Add your own spice. I sometimes put in dried dates soaked in water. It is also possible to use apple sauce instead of bananas. 

So, dear reader, join me in a year of fun from here on in. Talk again soon.

Love and hugs,
Jane x

Tears From The Sun - The Story